White-tailed Eagle

I have been looking out for a White Tailed Eagle for some months since they were reintroduced on the Isle of Wight.  I was lucky enough to see one on a Birds of Poole Harbour boat trip well over a year ago, but it was too distant to be a good sighting. I’ve also been down to  Arne several times in the hope of seeing one but no luck. But my luck changed on the 15th March 2024. I had been to Blandford in the morning and I spotted what I thought was an Eagle as I was driving down the by-pass towards Nutford cottages near Durweston, I stopped for a while on the bus stop to see if it was one and yes I could see not one but two White-tailed Eagles flying over France farm near Durweston,  at last I thought! They were fairly close but flying away from me. After reporting them to the Roy Dennis foundation they confirmed the sighting one was female with the leg ring code G486 and a male with the leg ring code G812. Both of these birds fledged from the Isle of Wight in 2021.

The day got better! I haven’t been taking my camera on my dog walks, the weather has been so disappointing, why I took it that particular day on my afternoon walk with my two dogs, I don’t know as the black clouds were building up and sure enough it started to rain again!. I headed from my house down Greenway Lane and towards Netmead field.  I had spotted eight Little Egrets near the river in the field, so I headed that way. Suddenly they all took flight and I saw a raptor in the middle of them, you can see it in the top right of the picture below.

The bird came across the field where the Egrets had been I still couldn’t make out what it was I assumed a Buzzard although it wasn’t flying as I expected a Buzzard would. Although when I got home and looked at the cropped image there was no doubt it was and Eagle!

I didn’t realise for a while that he had turned in the field and headed my way flying  closer to possibly check us out and flying quite low over Netmead, you can see the tracker on his back.  I couldn’t believe it a White-tailed Eagle, after a few months of looking, he finally came to me instead of me looking! I was a bit breathless and very excited (I would check the image a number of times on the back screen of the camera as I walked home!) I was pleased to have my camera settings set for birds in flight, raising the exposure compensation when he was up in the sky as the sky was very light compared to the underside of the bird as he flew over us.

I was so lucky as a few of the images were of the bird just in the frame, a tail and wing feathers but one was perfectly in the frame, so lucky! My two dogs were rummaging around unaware of what was going on. He flew over us and headed towards Bere Marsh before disappearing from view.

When I got home, I could read the ring on his leg G812. I informed the Roy Dennis foundation along with my earlier sighting and it was the male I had seen that morning. An experience I will never forget.

The Sunday after this sighting a friend and myself were sitting in my conservatory drinking tea when we both spotted a large bird coming towards the house, we both exclaimed “Is it?!” and it was an Eagle once again so excited and I just managed a snap before it disappeared towards Hambledon hill.  


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